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back to article Australia leaves the internet

It's Australia Day tomorrow, and the country's subjects are using it to mark a week of protests against government plans for compulsory internet censorship. www.internetblackout.com.au/ is calling for opponents of the government's plans to black out their profile picture on social networking sites, black out their websites, …

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# 2746354

Best of British to all you guys because once one country falls you know we're all soon to follow.

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FAIL

Bloody politicians

Seems that the politians will push through whatever they want to push through these days - especially in the UK. So much for democracy.

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Joke

I'm sorry, but I agree

Having read the article concerning which sites are being blacklisted, I wholeheartedly agree with the scheme. You can't just allow dentists to create their own websites willy nilly, it would be catastrophic.

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Stop

Net Censor

In principle, I like the idea of a net censor.

Anything that blocks access to all kiddie porn is A.OK in my book, I've just downloaded the ACMA black list and gone through it and overall , its a great starting point.

Where the Australian's end up looking like the Chinese 'Great Firewall' is as soon as they block something outside of what the majority would accept as the 'public good'.

Going through the list I can see legitimate gambling companies which are household names in the UK, lots of casino games and Poker. Now this is just protecting the Australian state run gambling which generates revenue for the country.

By blocking anything outside of (quite rightly) illegal porn, the net censorship mechanism is deemed as state 'thought' control and the population will naturally fight this. ( there is a valid debate for zero censorship of net access - but lets face it , wouldn't we all like to see an end to child exploitation ?? )

If they wanted to get this filter system in without complaints from its citizens, they should have just filtered the illegal porn stuff only and then started blocking whatever they wanted 18months later, when everyone was used to the technology.

Blocking legitimate international companies is just anti-competitive and has no place to be part of the net filter mechanism.

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WTF?

"Child exploitation"?

This won't stop child exploitation any more than it will stop anything else. That is an old and tired excuse, and quite frankly I'm sick of hearing it.

This will only give the government a system to censor anything it doesn't like at the press of a button, and that is the WRONG direction to be heading into. Even for Australia.

"If they wanted to get this filter system in without complaints from its citizens, they should have just filtered the illegal porn stuff only and then started blocking whatever they wanted 18months later, when everyone was used to the technology."

See, that sort of comment makes you an idiot.

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Big Brother

Yes... and no

Blocking kiddie porn is, whilst desirable, unfortunately impossible (also in a way fortunately - the same thing that keeps kiddie porn around is the same tech that allows truly anonymous communication). Unsurprisingly, increasingly child porn is not distributed over the Web. It's becoming more usual for them to be shared in chat rooms and over DC hubs. There's also a growing community using, for example, The Onion Router's (tor's) Hidden Services feature, which (if used correctly) makes blocking or tracking impossible without simultaneously blocking ALL encrypted 'net traffic.

Thus filtering cannot stop someone who is looking for illegal material who has even a modicum of technical knowledge. Therefore the only question to ask is: Are casual browsers likely to stumble across it? Now I (being a lazy student) spend more time than most trawling the net, and I've never come across any illegal material (apart from one questionable image on an ill-advised visit to 4chan's /b/). Therefore, as the filtering is not effective, is it really worh the implicit threat to our freedoms? (Although ironically, if they did try to use it to shut down our freedom of speech the exact same tech can be used to get around it!)

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Blocking "kiddie porn" *

"Anything that blocks access to all kiddie porn is A.OK in my book, I've just downloaded the ACMA black list and gone through it and overall , its a great starting point."

Won't work, and here's why. You know all those annoying spam/phishing emails that contain a link to somewhere to buy knock-off viagra, or steel all your money? The links are taken down almost as fast as the emails are sent, but they just put new ones up, and the emails just link to the new ones.

As fast as you put a link on your big list of censored links, they can just move the content elsewhere. If people want it, there is money. If there is money, they can get around it.

Using it to block normal sites that you don't happen to agree with will, on the whole, work (e.g. partypoker.com) because they are not in the business of moving around all the time.

* New definition of "kiddie porn":

Any picture of a child where you can see their skin,

or an adult where you can see their skin that someone says looks like a child,

or any drawing of a child where you can see their skin,

or any drawing of an adult where you can see their skin that someone says looks like a child,

a photograph that has been on the front of an album since before most internet users were born...

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Anonymous Coward

I would like to stop seeing bad things.

I would like to see an end to child exploitation, or failing that just an end to seeing child exploitation. I mean that's almost as good, isn't it?

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@ Yes... and no. - GOOD POINT, I've never stumbled onto it either....

Good Point, I've been surfing the net for years and I've never come across really nasty or illegal stuff.

It would be informative to know the stats on this stuff. I'll bet there's much more FUD--Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt--in the figures than real threat. It makes sense that those who act illegally do so deliberately.

Again, as I've said elsewhere, Net censorship is just a minuscule part of the much bigger agenda of keeping the population mute and under control. Governance is much easier this way.

Unfortunately, as we saw what happened in Germany in the 1930s, there's a point beyond which freedom and democracy suffer irrevocably. We must never forget that lesson (nevertheless, we now seem to be getting too close for comfort).

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FAIL

Just dumb

You have a (limited) thought provoking argument. Here is the counter argument.

1) List and scan for access to all of the kiddie porn sites.

2) If someone downloads from - or uploads to - said sites arrest the SOBs and try them for kiddie porn. (OK, you'd want them to do this more than once - as people do mistype on occasion.)

Why is this better?

A) People who are viewing kiddie porn are also the most likely to sexually abuse kids. This way you'll get them off of the street. (I know that this is not always true but why lose a good way to find a bunch of them?)

B) You don't have this slippery slope issue...

For the record, I think people who abuse children should be shot through the balls, flogged, covered in honey mixed with hot sauce and then tied to a fire ant hive. BUT the loss of basic freedoms for all is even worse than those people.

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But...

Wasn't there something in the news a while ago about illegal sites being hidden behind legitimate ones (I forget if it was child porn or otherwise), either with or without the knowledge of the website owner? You'd have a field day if, say, someone hid a site in www.amazon.co.uk/illegalbadstuff/, with all the legitimate traffic to/from the domain (and I believe the level of snoopery required to check if someone was going to that exact directory would piss off a lot of people).

Then you have the whole "did you intentionally go there or was it an accident"? Say www.amazob.co.uk one, and plenty of people get on to this by making typos (admittedly it's a very badly hidden site...).

Then of course there's the problem of proxies/public PCs, actually indexing all these sites, etc...

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Australia’s de-evolution!

When a democratic country creates any type of censorship to free expression to cut citizens liberty of choice.

Its message clear means one thing “de-evolution” into a fascist regime only dictated by those in power.... I wonder if China will anex Australia soon into the motherland! :)

Perhaps today’s politicians have forgot what Hitler stand for well before WWII and the censorship created leading up to the war.

Different times, different basis but same begining.

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FAIL

There we have it...

Godwin's law (of nazi analogies) in action...

You just flunked out of the debate on your first contribution =O/

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Happy

During the war....

Godwin is alive and well and lives at El Reg!

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Flame

Well said steve,

Of course he should have compared Oz with Stalinist Russia, Franco’s Spain, north Korea, china, Afghanistan and other countries ruled by lunatics & despots.

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Stop

A simple definition...

Fascism = A form of government characterized by:

- A strong, centralized government, with strong police powers limiting the freedom of individual citizens. In particular, opposition to the current government is considered treasonous.

- A 'corporatist' economic system. (From Wikipedia. Sorry. I guess that gives me a "Fail" too).

- A powerful sense of nationalism, as in, "What is good for the country is good for the citizen".

- The idea that citizens are unfit to govern themselves.

Typically, fascism is enabled through a sense that such a government is required because of fear of a specific targeted group.

It's not verbatim, but I recall seeing this definition and thinking, "Wow! That's the U.S. Government after the Patriot Act!"

But in terms of the Aussie government ignoring the will of the people and imposing the law, it is a very "fascist" thing to do. "We the government know better than you, so we're going to impose our will on you, and if you object, it's because you're a criminal."

Unfortunately, the Nazis took the word "fascism" and twisted it so much that now anyone who uses the term correctly is considered a loony.

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more ..

bollox to avoid an unpleasant truth

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FAIL

and the anti Godwin

has also appeared?

From Wiki...

"The rule does not make any statement about whether any particular reference or comparison to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that the likelihood of such a reference or comparison arising increases as the discussion progresses. "

So basically, rather than refuting the argument, you are shooting down the poster just because s/he mentioned Hitler? Smooth. Fine, I pick Stalin/Mao/Molosivitch/Pol Pot/etc. Pick your poison - they all have done the same trick. Read some history dude.

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FAIL

Wrong, as usual

Godwins Law: Trite cliche to avoid evaluating argument on its merits

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@Field Marshal Von Krakenfart Well

Yes, guess those countries could be added into the list. But none of them wouldn't give enough impact because their history isn't that well known worldwide compared with Germany pre war2 where extreme censorship were applied.

Heavy censorship is a well known characteristic of fascism regime where those in power think that know best, stopping those that think differently.

It is unfortunatly for OZ goes at that length to restrict freedom and options to their citizens, the only hope is that their government don't step into extreme which means restrict all websites which the government consider going against their ideology/mission/believes/etc... and that means their citizens can only read what the government allows them to see.

So in that way the analogy to China isn't that far away, the danger is OZ becoming another country where citizens are controlled and can only see what the government allows them to see.

History tell us that countless times simple censorship are taken to extreme by those in power... so isn't that difficult to extrapolate what the possible consequences are...

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@JoeTheAnnoying

The dangers of a government imposing such censorship, plays a serious danger of becoming uncontrolled censorship, therefore can be easy taken into extreme.

Such extreme censorship, was the case of Germany prior the beginning of WWII; which meant burning books, restricting speech, dispersion of groups of people, etc… and as result individual persecution. So I'm in agreement that "Nazis took the word of fascism and twisted beyond believe".... wich censorship played a vital role setting up what followed next, the complete mistrust.

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Joke

Fix'd

There is, of course, a Facebook group with 3,394 faceless members.

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Go

ah epic

result = runPilot()

if(result)

sing praises and run full trial

else

ignore result and run trial anyway

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@ Any Aussie govt IT workers

*HINT* this might be taken more seriously by the gubmint there if all THEIR pages were inaccessible during this week, and there was an unexplainable "sickness" throughout all their IT staff meaning they couldn't get fixed....

Because let's face it. A couple thousand (or a lot more) people blacking out their FaceBook pictures are not gonna change conroy's mind (deliberate lower-case "c", thank you).

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Flame

@ Ihre Papiere Bitte!! It wouldn't work--Hey, it's Australia - not any other normal place!

It wouldn't work.

Australia is full of bloody-minded sheep so forget any arrangement or cooperative agreement. You would not only have to break every mind-numbing plasma TV and computer in Oz but also bust up the sports venues before you even got the attention of average Australians.

Even if you got their attention for a millisecond or two, this gullible, ultra-conservative lot still wouldn't understand the issues if democracy bit them on the arse on its way out.

As I said here at El Reg about a week ago, the Internet censorship is only one bit of it, everything--from the threat of terrorism to every aspect of the nanny state imaginable--is an excuse for Australian Federal and state governments to pass wide-sweeping draconian laws on all sorts of issues. Moreover, they do so with impunity and with the command of a Caesar because they know they can get away with it without so much as a whimper.

Consider the problem this way: so unquestioning and gullible are our bloody-minded sheep that had Goebbels been here he'd have had a mighty field-day. We should be forever thankful that he had much tougher stuff to work with.

The trouble is those who are in power today ALSO understand the true effectiveness of shock-jock, beat-up propaganda and how easy it is to win over the somnambulant, the gullible and the badly educated by frightening them with spin and FUD--Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. (Tragically, we've had a soporific non-questioning education system here since about the early 1970s that discourages debate, political discourse and argument and critical thinking.)

I live here in Australia and day-by-day I witness the disaster unfolding around me. I wish I had sufficient resources to vacate.

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Big Brother

Hillary-ous

I find this hilariously ironic when I think about the fact that the Aussies are the ancestors of a bunch of ne'er-do-wells in a penal colony.

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FAIL

Isn't it..

Ironic? You mean in an Alanis Morissette sense..?

You're not American are you?

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J 3
Terminator

@Acme Fixer

Hey, how do you know the future? How about me, who will have the pleasure of having me as their ancestor?

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FAIL

Which Hillary?

Sir Edmund (a Kiwi) or Rodham Clinton (a Septic)?

Neither of them are (AFAIK) 'the ancestors of ne'er-do-wells in a penal colony', but I'm certainly proud to be descended from one (Henry Kable, First Fleet).

Hence I figure that as a descendant from a family line that's been here since 1788, I can tell you that our beloved Minister of Communications should be hung, drawn and quartered, then allowed to flee the country back to wherever he or his ancestors came from (UK??) and take his George Orwell inspired ideas with him.

While your getting your fill of irony from us bunch of ne'er-do-wells, you might like to reflect why the UK still provides the largest number of immigrants to this ex-penal colony, and why our economy is looking just ever so slightly better than yours.

"Laugh it up, Fuzzball"

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Silver badge

Simpler solution

Obviosuly no objectionable site could exist in Australia, because Australians wouldn't do this sort of thing so all the filth and 'really bad stuff' on the internet comes from abroad.

Since there are only about a dozen cables linking the country to the rest of the uncilivsed world, half an hour with an axe could ensure that Oz could live on in it's own internet purity.

It's not like the rest of the world is going to notice or care.

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Stop

@ Yet Another A.C. - CORRECTION, it's 'civilized'

You said "to the rest of the uncivilized world". Surely you mean civilized?

'Tis we Australians who are uncivilized, we're ensconced in Neanderthal ways of thinking and we've 'Neanderthals' for our parliamentary representatives.

Civilization is beginning to seem a long way off 'down under'.

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Troll

What difgference does it make anyway...

When the vast majority of Australians surf the web in small internet cafes and coffee shops dotted around London..?

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Paris Hilton

Strewth

Hmm, It's very sad that censorship is happening in Oz.

I always had an image of Aussie sys Admins chilling out, feet up on the desk, tinny in hand, barbecued marsupial in the other hand and watching internet porn on the monitor.

Banning interweb porn over there is surely a form of cultural suppression of the highest order! It's porn! They love their porn! It would be like if Gordon banned tea in this country! It's bang out of order!

I'm going to show my support by buying a 6 pack of Aussie tinnys and painting the cans black!

Paris, cos she's uncensored.

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Silver badge

A better way of doing it....?

Blanking out your picture on Facebook (or wherever) and putting a black page up on your website front-end is like wearing a lapel badge or signing a petition - it might get you noticed, it might not.

How about, webmasters who are sympathetic to 'the cause', rig their servers to deliver a 'You are not allowed to see this' page when a request comes in from a government IP address?

That should be simple enough and with a few discrete and friendly words in the ear of ISP techs, they could get the home IP addresses of Australian politicians who support this censorship and add those to the 'blocked list'.

Nothing quite like a taste of your own medicine.

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FAIL

Theory vs. Reality

Like most government policies and programs across the world (i.e. failed), the proponents of this censorship plan obviously suffer from the common ability to separate theory from reality. In theory, having measure to protect nations from "harmful" Internet in general sounds attractive and, on some level, necessary.

The thing going for all opponents in this disaster-laden plan is the lack of any sense of reality, which will clearly doom this endeavor without much trouble. Why is the bleeding-obvious so hard for some wankers to perceive?

Epic fail awaits...

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Pint

In solidarity with our Fosters gulping cousins...

(This comment has been intentionally left blank)

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Black Helicopters

flip it around..

it's not there to protect the people, - it's there to protect the government.

short term- so they can get the votes of the balance-of-power-holding ultra christian loon party in parliament, and get their minimum term's up to qualify for the life-time golden parachute.

long term - Don't want people getting to pesky information that makes them ask embarrasing questions.

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Sensitivities

"The list, which ended up being leaked, was also found to contain lots of quite unobjectionable content wrongly listed as pornographic or otherwise too unpleasant for the famously sensitive Aussies."

I like the too unpleasant for the famously sensitive Aussies part. I thought that before coming here and seeing adverts with questionable language (not the accent) and content before what most would consider the watershed as well as swearing on the radio throughout the day.

It would seem sensitive in some aspects, not giving a rat's arse in others

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Is there an Ozzie porno update?

I had a copy of the original porno/banned hotlist and very useful it was, too.

I use it regularly to test government Fire Walls such as the one in China and Singapore - the one in Cambodia does have any problems with any of the URL's nor does Thailand.

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Grenade

Who voted?

for this absolute twit Conroy??? He's the same d****head that wanted to put speed humps on the national highways so we wouldn't have accidents from speeding.

I think Conroy would make a great speed hump. I'd line up to drive over him again and again.

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Child exploitation

If you truly want to end child exploitation you'd better learn how to make your own clothes.

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FAIL

Blocking all known proxies as well yes?

I mean, how easy is a firewall to get round?

I was amazed my brother who emigrated several years ago to Australia hadn't even heard of this, not a clue what I was on about and, Is uspec, his attitude was "Well, as long as I can get google, facebook and email I don't care"

It is that attitude that allows shit like this to go on!

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Pint

The [once] Great Australian Adjective?

What a [link deleted] shame!

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